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What is a Roadmap, and how can it be combined with OKRs

Roadmap for OKR

Each project or company, as a rule, has a development strategy and a plan for implementing this strategy. Whether you are an experienced Agile or OKR coach, Strategic planning manager, or Product/Project manager, you still need to be able to set a direction and clearly understand long-term perspective. 

Without defining where to go and what needs to be achieved, the company is unlikely to be able to exist for a long time. Projects can work according to different goal-setting systems, but such a tool as a roadmap can come in handy for each. Roadmaps are not limited to products: their goals are similar for different types (for example, marketing or IT roadmaps). Roadmaps are widely used in project management, product management, company strategy management, and business management in general. 

A well-defined roadmap and a solid plan can help you organize your priorities efficiently. And in this article, we suggest you get acquainted in detail with what a roadmap is, why it is needed and how to combine it with the OKR system.

Roadmap definition

A roadmap is a graphical representation of the list of tasks reflected on a timeline to achieve the company’s desired long-term goals. It is a helpful tool for managing project expectations, sharing plans, and coordinating resources within the team. It ties together your strategy (the “why”), the work you will need to do to achieve your goals (the “what”), and a timeline for completion (the “when”). 

So, the roadmap helps contribute to teamwork formation, regardless of the project’s complexity. 

Roadmap purposes

A roadmap is a strategic document that is intended for separate planning. 

The primary purpose of creating a roadmap is to communicate the strategic goals and direction to the entire team using one document. 

Let’s find out what other purposes a roadmap has:

  • show global strategic initiatives and detailed features;
  • visualization of the company’s strategy;
  • releases by periods (quarters);
  • structure the development processes;
  • improve the overall strategy execution by managing the product;
  • share with management what the team is doing for the company’s success.

What is OKR?

OKR (Objectives and Key Results) is a method used in modern management to set goals, create alignment, and encourage engagement in the company. This drives us to achieve even the most ambitious goals of an individual team member, a whole team, and the business.

At its core, OKRs have two components: the Objective and the measurable Key Results. Objectives are qualitative descriptions of what you want to achieve. They should be brief and engaging. Key Results are markers that help determine if you’ve reached your goals. The team can choose to have one key result or several to track the objective. The main thing is not to select more than five metrics. As usual, 2-5 key results work best. Too many key results interfere with focusing. For more information about using OKRs, you may read here.

Objectives should be ambitious, ideally if they reach 65-80%. Regular 100% achievement of goals indicates that they are not too ambitious. Achieving a plan by 50% means a problem in the formation or implementation of targets that affect such a result.

A combination of OKR and Roadmap

OKRs can work in synergy with your product roadmaps. See how OKR benefits are similar to roadmap benefits and how the use of the roadmap complements the use of OKRs:

OKR benefitsRoadmap benefits
Focusing on the business directionLinking global strategy to roadmap processes: a roadmap allows managers to tie the corporate vision, mission, strategy, and plans to long-term focus. 
Defining the most critical tasks and initiativesIdentifying and evaluating ideas: a roadmap gives a better comprehension of corporate issues, and management understands the needs of a company.  
Aligning employees to corporate goalsKeeping everyone aligned: when all employees have easy access to the same information, all work remains aligned. The roadmap improves communication and collaboration among everyone.
Giving clear direction to every team and individual

 Increasing insight and transparency across the company for top-level executives
Giving a comprehensive overview: a roadmap provides an overall perspective of a project and its timeline — for those who are deeply involved and those with less participation, such as executives and other stakeholders.

Increasing productivity through focus on goalsIncreasing productivity: the high-level visibility of a roadmap helps people stay focused on the tasks they must complete. 
Tracking regular progress towards goalsBetter tracking: a roadmap enables closely tracking of tasks, benchmarks, and overall workflow. 
Analyzing root causes of why objectives are not achieved Capturing cross-functional dependencies across teamsIllustrating overlaps and dependencies: a roadmap communicates how tasks in a project might overlap. It also shows how the beginning of one task can depend on another task’s completion. That kind of information allows work scheduling and provides resources in a way that doesn’t impede the progress of a project.
Improving resource allocation and managementBalancing multiple projects: a roadmap allows managers to track several projects efficiently and balance the work on each project.
Achieve measurement, accountability, and transparency.Monitoring and obtaining information: creating a roadmap is essential for better strategic decisions. 

How to apply a Roadmap in OKR? 

The roadmap fits perfectly into any goal-building system, in OKR, for example. Roadmaps, more than other tools, act as a sort of support for the OKR outcomes. This whole system can be perfectly synchronized with a Roadmap and used, for instance, in Jira. Our team has just developed such a feature so that projects can conveniently and visually work on the OKR system. 

A roadmap is a perfect tool to complement your strategy and achieve your team’s goals. Try OKR and the Roadmap tool here

Take the friction out of managing OKRs and implement the framework with ease.